While the season was cut short, the 11 Sale Creek soccer seniors will always be remembered for laying the groundwork for the Panthers' boys soccer program.
The 2020 Sale Creek soccer team was looking forward to continuing on a season of firsts by playing in its first year as a boys-only team. The senior-laden team had 27 total players on its roster. The team had been looking to build off of its success last season, when they won their first regular-season district championship and made an appearance in the region semifinals as a coed squad.
Hunter Loomis: Forward
Loomis has been a part of the program since its inception as a sixth-grade manager.
He began his varsity career in the eighth grade when he scored his first career goal. Loomis became a starter as a junior, and was selected to the all-district second team. He is planning on attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and majoring in materials science engineering.
Jackson Greer: Forward
Greer has played for Sale Creek since his sophomore season, and became a starter last year. As a junior, he earned all-district and all-region honors, while also being selected as the district MVP. Greer plans to attend Chattanooga State next year and then transfer to play collegiate soccer after many recruiting trips this year had to be canceled.
Zeke Levi: Midfield
Levi's junior season was his first playing high school soccer, but he earned all-region honors and was a leader on and off the field going into his senior year according to head coach Michael Caraccio. He is planning to attend Chattanooga State in the TCAT program for industrial electricity.
Anthony D'Amico: Defender
D'Amico's junior season was his first ever playing soccer, and he was selected to the all-district second team. Caraccio said that whenever D'Amico was anywhere near a soccer ball he was smiling, and that mentality carried the team. The senior plans to attend UTC and major in mechanical engineering.
Kaleb Newhouse: Defender
Newhouse started playing soccer at Sale Creek his junior year. According to Caraccio, he was one of the hardest-working players on the field, always giving his all and being quick to make the team laugh to lighten the mood. He plans on joining Levi at Chattanooga State in the TCAT program for industrial electricity.
Jacob Francisco: Midfield
Francisco has been a part of the soccer program since his sophomore season. He began as a goalie, moved to forward, and then settled as an outstanding midfielder during his senior year. Caraccio said that his selflessness and positive attitude made him indispensable to the team. Francisco also plans to attend Chattanooga State and major in industrial electricity in the TCAT program.
Brenden Loyd: Midfield
Loyd began his soccer career as a junior in high school, and Caraccio said that he gave his all every time he stepped onto the field. He was looking forward to playing in his first game of his senior season after being cleared from a concussion when the season was halted. Loyd plans to attend Chattanooga State for two years.
Jacob Bieber: Defender
Described as a "silent leader," Bieber began his soccer career as a junior and excelled instantly. He was looking forward to playing the entire season as a senior after his junior season was cut short due to a terrible lung infection. He plans to attend Chattanooga State in the fall and then "go where the wind takes him."
Tristan Swafford: Midfield
Swafford's senior season was his first time playing soccer. Despite never playing, Caraccio said Swafford was a fast learner and destined to make an impact for the team as the season went on. Always smiling and enjoying learning the game, Swafford plans to "be awesome" after graduation.
Blake Nutt: Midfield
Nutt's senior season was his first organized soccer since he was four years old, but Caraccio said he was a natural. In the Panthers' only game, he owned the midfield and was looking forward to a great season. Nutt plans to study welding at Chattanooga State in the TCAT program.
Andrew Minnick: Goalkeeper
Minnick began playing soccer this year, and had a shutout in the only game of the season. Described by Caraccio as a natural in the goal, he led the team through off-season workouts and always kept morale high for the squad. He plans on attending Chattanooga State next year.
The Chattanoogan Senior Spotlight series highlights local prep seniors whose seasons have been canceled due to the unprecedented situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are associated with a high school spring sports team and would like your seniors featured, please encourage the coach to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, share this article and others like it from this series on social media using #ChattanooganSeniorSpotlight.